Diary of a Massage Therapist: Surviving Massage School Again (and Life)

By Jennifer (Shaw) Bonessi, LMT, cPT, RYT at Bodywork In Austin


Dear Diary:

I know it’s been a while since I’ve written. Life just got crazy. (Doesn’t it always?)

I’ve finally completed Lauterstein-Conway’s Advanced Program while managing to keep my massage business afloat, taught regular couples massage classes in both a private and public setting, rubbed a lot of teachers, lost my second hospice massage client to breast cancer, expanded my business to include yoga offerings by also getting my yoga certification, had a miscarriage, cut off 16 inches of my hair to donate to charity wig-makers, started homeschooling and survived our family’s first broken bone. It’s been a long, very full nine months.

But I survived! I’m still here – massaging people!

The Key to Managing an Advanced Massage Training: Practice

In November 2012, when I started Lauterstein-Conway Massage School’s Advanced Program, I recognized how in need of more knowledge I was. But by early 2013, I was exhausted by how much knowledge I had.

What made the knowledge overwhelm manageable was my ability to practice. I went back to school while I was working regularly as a massage therapist. This allowed me to go to class Monday mornings and then turn around and use my new techniques Tuesday through Saturday on the eight or so clients I was seeing per week in my private practice. (If you don’t have a full time massage job, getting practice over just a few hours per would certainly work if you were at a Massage Heights or Massage Envy – it may even be better – and they are always hiring.)

Since I rarely had enough new material to do a massage session completely made up of new techniques, this also helped me integrate the knowledge I had gained into my existing protocols. As a result, I was able to bring my struggles and triumphs into the classroom for discussion in subsequent classes. This was hugely beneficial.

Having come from a place in my massage practice and career as a whole that was in need of a deep breath in, a place starved for air, the Advanced Program was pure oxygen. And though I confess I choked on all that knowledge a bit and am now in a period of exhale, a place of letting go of what I could not possibly hold onto, I would certainly do it again and again.

Wow. Just like breathing…

Signed, a massage therapist still,